A pleasure today to be joining the blog tour and sharing my review of The Cake Fairies by Isabella May, published today for kindle, available from Amazon in the UK and US (also available through Kindle Unlimited). My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my advance reading e-copy. Isabella’s books had already caught my eye – this is her fifth, and a couple of her others are already on my kindle, awaiting their turn. And I have welcomed her to Being Anne once before, and you’ll find that post here – answering a few questions as part of the birthday blog blitz for Oh! What a Pavlova, back in October 2018. So I was particularly delighted that the tour has given me the opportunity to taste her writing.
1960’s Somerset is no fun for cousins Polly and Annabelle Williams. Mourning their non-existent love lives, and the mundanity of village life, their only pleasure is baking – until a chance encounter has them magically transported to the bright lights of London… in 2019!
Promised a chance of love, first they must teach the people of the future about the simpler pleasures of life by becoming Cake Fairies. Over the course of a year they set off on a delectable tour of the UK, dropping off cakes in the most unexpected of places and replacing the lure of technology with much sweeter temptations.
But will their philanthropical endeavours lead them to everlasting love? Or will they discover you can’t have your cake and eat it?
Cakes and time travel – perhaps neither of them elements you’ll usually find in the books I choose to read, but I really enjoyed this book. I particularly liked the writing – humour can be rather subjective, and I’ll admit that this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I really liked both the concept and the way the story was told. It’s quirky, jokey, and really good fun – but there are some welcome slightly harder edges at times as we explore the relationship between Polly and Annabelle, both really well-drawn characters, and the impact of their actions on the lives of others.
The story does take a little time to get into its stride, establishing the characters and their 1960s lives, with some nice touches of period detail – fair to say, I think, that this is the 1960s for readers who perhaps don’t remember it as well as I do. But I liked the initial setting very much – the village of Middle Ham near magical Glastonbury, life at the bakery, the sense of opportunities missed and life passing them by, and the various characters who feature in their lives (Kitty Withers is a particular tour-de-force). The early part of the book has the feel, at times, of a fairy tale waiting to happen – very cleverly done, and wholly appropriate for what follows.
But from the point they enter Amber Magnolia’s fairground tent, the adventure begins – twelve months in the present day, all facilitated and organised by their unexpected fairy godmother, baking cakes to entice everyone away from their phones and screens and to improve their everyday lives. At times they live in the lap of luxury, at times they don’t – the red folder they’ve been left with organises their days, and takes them to so many places and into so many situations they don’t expect. I loved the characters they encounter – Ivy comes into their lives with a bang (the hole has something to do with it), Alex is a rather luscious love interest (and the source of more than a little conflict), and I did particularly like surly chauffeur Nigel.
Their discovery of the world they’re now living in is quite beautifully done – despite their mission, the internet and mobile phones feature as heavily as you might expect, the book is full of pop culture and other contemporary references, and the reader shares every moment of their wonderment.
And I really can’t believe I’ve written four paragraphs without mentioning the cake – from their first visit to the wonderland that is Waitrose, this whole book really is a foodie’s delight, with all its taste combinations and flavours, every “dropped” cake mouthwatering and lovingly crafted.
Yes, this book is quirky and different – and I guess the “magic” might not appeal to everyone. But it’s so well done, the perfect fun read with which to start the new year – I really enjoyed it, and it left me with a big smile on my face. You really can’t ask for more than that, can you?
About the author
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic.
Cake, cocktail, churros, ice cream and travel obsessed, she also loves nothing more than to (quietly) break life’s rules.
The Cake Fairies is her fifth novel.